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Unpaid wages top Qatar migrant worker complaints, says UN

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DOHA: Unpaid wages dominate a growing number of complaints by migrant workers in Qatar, the UN labour agency said on Tuesday, 19 days from the start of the football World Cup.

The International Labour Organisation said the number of worker complaints more than doubled in a year to 34,425 with the launch of a new online platform, in a report which called on Qatar to bolster the implementation of reforms launched after criticism of its rights record.

“The main causes of complaints concerned non-payment of wages and end-of service benefits, and annual leave not being granted or paid,” said the ILO report which added that 10,500 cases went to labour tribunals where nearly all judges ruled in favour of workers.

The report said the number of workers treated for heat related problems linked to the Gulf state’s searing summer temperatures had also fallen after the introduction of new restrictions in 2021. It said four clinics for migrant workers treated 351 workers this summer, down from 620 in 2021 and 1,520 in 2020.

German minister says she will attend the World Cup after being given a ‘guarantee of safety’ for LGBTQ fans

Qatar, where the World Cup starts on Nov 20, has been widely criticised over conditions for migrant workers — as well as rights for women and the LGBTQ community.

The ILO said Qatar has carried out “significant” reforms that have “improved the working and living conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers” and were having an impact across the Gulf region.

“There is universal acknowledgement that more needs to be done to fully apply and enforce the labour reforms,” said the report.

“We all recognise that we are not yet at the finish line, and we will build on this solid foundation to address the gaps in implementation, and ensure that all workers and employers can fully benefit from these major reforms,” said Ruba Jaradat, ILO regional director for Arab states.Qatar, which has become increasingly frustrated over the criticism, summoned the German ambassador after Faeser said Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup was “very tricky” for Germany.

Faeser and Germany’s football federation chief Bernd Neuendorf met ILO officials and union representatives on Monday.

Safety” for LGBTQ fans

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said on Tuesday she will attend the World Cup after being given a “guarantee of safety” for LGBTQ fans by Qatar’s prime minister.

Germany’s ambassador to Doha was summoned last week after Faeser said Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup was “very tricky” from Berlin’s perspective, and that “it would be better that tournaments are not awarded to such states.” But she gave a more positive assessment after meeting with Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Thani on Tuesday.

“It is important to support the country of Qatar in groundbreaking reforms,” Faeser, who is also sports minister, said at the end of a 24-hour visit.

“That is why I have decided to continue to be part of the process and travel to the first match of the German team.” Germany play Japan in their opening match on November 23.

A source involved in the meeting said however that Faeser’s earlier comments had been raised and that Qatar still viewed them as “dismissive”.

This source added that Qatar only repeated previous assurances that all fans would be “welcome”, while Qatar “asks everyone to respect their culture and beliefs”.

Faeser said Al Thani had offered a “guarantee of safety” for LGBTQ fans.

“All people, no matter where they come from, who they love and what they believe in, must be safe at the World Cup,” she said. The energy-rich Islamic state, where homosexuality is criminalised, has become increasingly sensitive to criticism of its treatment of migrant workers, as well as rights for women and the LGBTQ community.

Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2022


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